Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
You’ve probably dismissed Pinterest if: 1) you’re a guy; 2) you’re not lured in by eye candy; 3) you don’t think it’s utilitarian. New data indicate you might want to reevaluate.
Pinterest was launched five years ago, and by now most of us have checked it out and either embraced it or shrugged our shoulders and walked away. But it might well be worth a second look.
The latest data show that the fastest growing segment of the 100 million “pinners” is men. As a matter of fact, more men are on Pinterest than subscribe to GQ and Sports Illustrated combined. To see what guys’ pins look like, check out this sampling.
And Pinterest isn’t just about looking at pleasing pics; it has a practical side to it. The way most pinners use Pinterest is to plan the future–and future purchases. Evan Sharp, one of the founders of Pinterest, describe its function this way in The Atlantic interview: “Today, I define it as a place where people can go to get ideas for any project or interest in their life. And as you encounter great ideas and discover new things that you didn’t even know were out there, you can pin them and make them part of your life through our system of boards. Best of all, as you’re creating a board on Pinterest, other people can get inspiration from your ideas, so there’s this cycle where what you’re creating for yourself also helps other people make their lives.”
Individuals are using Pinterest to plan weddings, baby’s first birthday party, books they want to read, etc. As they build boards of their dreams, they are snagging images from websites and storing links back to those sites. And then….when it’s Dream-Come-True-Time, they might well click on those and…buy the item. That makes Pinterest a useful tool for authors to sell their books.
Sharp understands how significant Pinterest can be to a company (or person) who uses the site to sell. “The reason retail feels like an obvious fit for us is that you’re doing on Pinterest what you do in a store, browsing through things and picking out the things you like, saving them for later, and maybe eventually buying them.”
Another practical aspect of Pinterest is that its major function is to discover something you didn’t know about. Since one of an author’s biggest challenges today is having his or her work discovered, uh, doesn’t that suggest Pinterest is a good place to be?
Sharp explains Pinterest’s core function this way–as opposed to Google’s function, which is to search for text: “Discovery, which is different from search, is a very human process. We’re not building a machine that answers questions…We’re helping you discover the things you like. And part of that is you literally going through the process of discovering them. Yes this, not this, yes this, not this.”
In essence, the millions of pinners are indexing the world’s objects based on what they like. By 2014 they had indexed 30 billion objects.
While that might suggest it’s impossible for your object to be found, you can help to direct people to your book cover, for example. Sharp points out that one of amazing ways Pinterest functions is that individuals pin what interests them and categorize them in the way that the item interests them. That means that the right keywords can lead more people to your cover. (To find out more about choosing those words, see this article.)
So let’s say your book cover showcases a stunning red dress on a hangar. One person might pin your book cover under “Things That are Red” while someone else would pin your cover on a board named “Romantic Dresses.” A third person could pin it on a board that’s a collection of “Beautiful Book Covers.” Then, when Person #4 is building a board of types of dresses she wants to buy, if she searches for “red dress,” she could discover your book cover on two different boards.
As a matter of fact, your books or other items from your website might already be pinned. You can find out by typing your site name into the following URL: pinterest.com/source/SiteName.com and replace “SiteName.”
For you nonvisual types, here’s the best news of all: A pin doesn’t have to be a picture. One of the easiest items for you to pin is your blog posts. Lists do well on Pinterest, too. And so do Infographics. It’s possible to gain additional readers of your material and connect them to your website via Pinterest without using pictures.
For specific steps to create an effective presence on Pinterest, see BuzzSumo’s article here.
More men are on Pinterest than subscribe to GQ and Sports Illustrated combined. Click to tweet.
If you’re a writer, should you give Pinterest a second look? Click to tweet.
Pinterest’s major use is planning. Click to tweet.